Along with Monta Ellis, Dwight Howard is probably the person whose name is mentioned most around the rumor mill.
As the lockout continues, we will keep speculating about potential trades for the Magic big man.
While he's been rumored to go to virtually every team in the league other than the Heat, the one that would help both the Magic and the team to which he's traded most is the Thunder.
Oklahoma City Gets: Dwight Howard
The Magic have been getting numerous offers for Howard before the lockout, and this is definitely the sweetest of them all.
Josh Smith, Andris Biedrins, Brook Lopez, Kevin Garnett, Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom have all been rumored to take the center's place in Orlando via trade.
But the best of them all has to be one with Perkins.
He fits in well with Stan Van Gundy's slow system and is a pretty darn good post player.
Although he's not nearly as good as Howard on either end of the floor, he fits in a lot better than the other players whose names are getting tossed around in a deal for Howard.
Nazr Mohammed is a solid backup and can help fill the void left by Marcin Gortat when he was traded to Phoenix.
Even with Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon developing, there's a chance the Clips won't make it to the playoffs in the tough Western Conference, and their first-round draft pick can sweeten any deal.
A lineup featuring Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard could easily rival the Heat's Big Three, mainly because no two players play a similar game (like LeBron and D-Wade do).
Howard is still developing his offensive game, and it's funny to think that although he's been in the league since 2004, he is still 25 and is yet to hit his prime.
Durant and Westbrook, however, have no problem scoring the ball and can make up for Howard's offensive flukes early in the season.
While the Heat play with Mike Bibby and Joel Anthony in their starting lineup, the Thunder will have Thabo Sefolosha/James Harden and Serge Ibaka, who are a lot more talented than Bibby and Anthony.
Additionally, the Heat's Big Three are 26, 27, and 29 years old, but the Thunder's proposed Big Three are 22, 22, and 25 years old.
So the Thunder should be dominating the Western Conference around four years longer than the Heat dominate the East.
While the Thunder's starters in the post, Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka, are talented players, their backups (Cole Aldrich and Nick Collison) aren't exactly amazing.
As Marcin Gortat (Howard's backup in Orlando a couple years back) would know, Howard plays a lot of minutes, and his backups don't play too much.
Playing alongside another shot blocker in Ibaka and having a solid, young center who's still growing better in Aldrich right behind him is comforting for Howard, who doesn't have to put too much strain on his body.
As the Thunder still have to battle the likes of Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Tyson Chandler in the post in the Western Conference, a guy like Dwight Howard is a boon.
Durant can score with the best of them (evidenced by his back-to-back scoring titles), but defense isn't really his strong point.
He is still learning how to take advantage of his long arms, but is yet to put some bulk and muscle on them.
In the photo to the left, Durant is fouling DeShawn Stevenson because he got right past him, and Perkins isn't helping.
Durant's guys get past him very easily, but with an imposing defensive presence like Howard behind him, Durant doesn't need to worry about that.
He can press up on his man, knowing that the three-time defending Defensive Player of the Year is right behind him.
Howard has practice doing things like this, too, as Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson aren't exactly the best of defenders.
As Durant learns to pressure his man, his defense will only get better with a guy like Howard directly behind him.
The Thunder are already one of the best teams in the West with a dynamic duo of Durant and Westbrook.
Adding a guy like Howard will make them the instant favorite to win the West and potentially a title.
In a potential matchup with the Heat, Oklahoma City is sure to prevail, as two members of its Big Three are at positions that the Heat lack strength (Westbrook at point guard; Howard at center).
Let's say that Chris Paul joined the Knicks. The Thunder can go toe-to-toe with them, as Westbrook is almost as talented a point guard as Paul, and Carmelo and Amar'e can't defend Durant and Howard, respectively.
The Thunder would be able to make it to the finals with ease, as the best teams in the West (Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers) are among the oldest in the league. Dwyane Wade will be in his 30s next year, and Amar'e will in two years. As the Thunder grow more experienced, the only teams capable of challenging them will only get older.
As always, thanks for reading!
Please leave your thoughts about the trade, or other potential trade ideas in the comment section below.
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